Research Groups

Portrait André Nadler

André Nadler

Membrane Chemical Biology – Spotlight on lipids

Previous and Current Research

Dynamic changes of membrane composition and organization are crucial for key cellular processes. Cellular transport, migration and polarization all require membrane reorganization as well as initiation and maintenance of intracellular concentration gradients of distinct molecular species. The role and importance of lipids has not been studied thoroughly in living cells, both due to technical limitations and the simple fact that cellular lipids constitute a molecular array of overwhelming complexity. Understanding why this complexity is required, how and when distinct lipid molecules interact with proteins and how these interactions are in turn modulated by lipid metabolism will be critical for elucidating how biological membranes function on a molecular level. Fortunately, new analytical methods and more and more refined chemical tools become increasingly available and might well trigger a new era of discovery that will change our perception of biological membranes.  
Consequently, research in the Membrane Chemical Biology group focuses on the development of chemical tools to monitor lipid localization, to modulate the intracellular concentration of distinct lipid species and to capture lipid-protein interactions. We use a combination of approaches from organic chemistry, biochemistry and cell biology to ensure the capability to address a given problem from as many angles as possible.

André Nadler research: figure
Figure: Photochemical tools allow performing kinetic analyses of lipid metabolism in living cells, can be utilized to activate distinct branches of cellular signaling networks and can be used to capture lipid-protein interactions.
Future Projects and Goals

The membrane chemical biology group at MPI-CBG will accommodate organic chemists, biochemists and cell biologists in an interdisciplinary setting. We will focus on elucidating the role of lipids in cellular processes by using specifically designed chemical tools in live cell experiments.

Specifically we want to be able to:

  • Perform quantitative analyses of signaling lipid metabolism in living cells
  • Determine the kinetic parameters of lipid metabolizing enzymes in living cells
  • Identify signaling lipid metabolites with respect to molecular identity and abundance
  • Study the influence of lipid chemical diversity with regard to signaling outcome
  • Capture the protein interactome of molecular distinct lipid second messengers
  • Visualize intracellular lipid gradients in living cells and elucidate the molecular mechanisms required for their initiation and maintenance
  • Study selected lipid-protein interactions in molecular detail
  • Correlate mechanistic findings with physiological outcome
Methodological and Technical Expertise

Organic synthesis & chemical probe development, NMR spectroscopy, lipid biochemistry, photoaffinity probes, live cell photoactivation experiments, live cell imaging

Selected Publications

D. Höglinger, A. Nadler & C. Schultz
Caged lipids as tools for investigating cellular signaling
BBA 2014, published online

M. Carta, F. Lanore, N. Rebola, Z. Szabo, S. V. Da Silva, J. Lourenço, A. Verraes, A. Nadler, C. Schultz, C. Blanchet & C. Mulle
Membrane lipids tune synaptic transmission by direct modulation of presynaptic potassium channels
Neuron 2014, 81, 787–799

A. Nadler, G. Reither, S. Feng, F. Stein, S. Reither, R. Müller and C. Schultz
The fatty acid composition of diacylglycerols determines local signaling patterns
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2013, 52, 6330–6334

A. Nadler, J. Strohmeier and U. Diederichsen
8-Vinyl-2′-deoxyguanosine as a fluorescent 2′-deoxyguanosine mimic for investigating DNA hybridization and topology
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2011, 50, 5392–5396

A. Nadler, C. Koch, F. Brodhun, J.-D. Wehland, K. Tittmann, I. Feussner and U. Diederichsen
Influence of substrate dideuteration on the reaction of the bifunctional heme enzyme Psi factor producing oxygenase A (PpoA)
ChemBioChem 2011, 12, 728-737


since 2014
Group leader at MPI-CBG

PostDoc (Chemical Biology, Cell Biology), EMBL Heidelberg, Chemical Cell Biology Group

PhD student (Chemistry), Institute for Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry, University of Göttingen

Academic studies (diploma, Chemistry), University of Göttingen


Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics
Pfotenhauerstraße 108
01307 Dresden